And just like that, another year has gone by. As last month’s “State of the Industry” reported, we continue to be very busy, so it is easy to let the accomplishments of the year slip by if we let them. That’s why we take this look back at the year that was as we leave it behind and set our sights ahead to 2023.
Access Networks: A leader in enterprise-grade networking solutions, Access Networks strengthened its foothold by making its technology easier for systems integrators to design, configure, and deploy. New cloud-based solutions allow integrators to proactively manage client networks from anywhere and comprehensive support and service now provide dealers focused on projects of smaller-scale turnkey designs and systems to streamline workflow and efficiency. By minimizing the complexity of network design and installation through technological refinements and better service and support, Access Networks enables a broader range of integrators, regardless of their networking experience and expertise, to deliver exceptional connectivity experiences to the masses.
Arlington: Arlington continues to develop new products to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers across industries. For the resi market, its CH1 heavy-duty cable hook gave installers the option of parallel or perpendicular orientation for vertical support of multiple tiers of cable. The company also added two new rep firms in the western U.S. earlier this year.
Audinate: Audinate’s Dante — the AV-over-IP solution that dominates the world of professional audio — saw rapid adoption by manufacturers of residential audio equipment in 2022. The technology provides a solution to route audio over long distances without any signal degradation. In addition, when integrators have complex networks featuring diverse technologies from a disparate array of manufacturers, the labor cost and material expense of running multiple copper cables versus one Ethernet cable is considerable. Dealers and integrators also capture cost and time savings by having all members of their crews train on Dante rather than multiple protocols.
AudioControl: The company celebrated its 45th anniversary with the introduction of several new products, such as 70-volt amplifiers, including models with Dante connectivity, and 8K-ready home theater processors and receivers. It also introduced the BLX-1K bi-directional signal extender that sends and receives fully balanced, high-quality analog audio signals up to 1000 feet over standard Ethernet cable.
Azione Unlimited: The buying group charged back into live events this year with its typical Fall and Spring Summits, but this year also marked the introduction of the Azione Leadership Symposiums, which are a reinvigorated variation on the Key Leader Meetings that focus on developing practical in-person training, building dynamic conversations, and imparting long-lasting knowledge for the next wave of leaders in the CI community.
BenQ: BenQ has several projector options specifically engineered to support golf simulation setups, replicating the golf course experience so users can perfect their golf swing rain or shine. The new BenQ LW500ST golf sim projector released in November is BenQ’s most affordable, color-accurate option to date. The 2000-lumen WXGA LED projector boasts 98 percent Rec. 709 coverage for true colors, flexibility to install it anywhere, and eco mode providing 30,000 hours for years of use. For less than $800, it’s an all-in-one projector that works anywhere.
Blackdove: Blackdove entered into a global agreement with LG Electronics to deliver digital art experiences on LG’s advanced digital signage displays. Integrating software and curated art from Blackdove’s digital art gallery and NFT (non-fungible token) platform, LG’s customizable display solutions provide a convenient way to showcase digital art, which has emerged as a prominent medium in the global art market.
Blustream: In 2022, Blustream strengthened its U.S. presence and channel partner relationships. It added seven Powerhouse Alliance members, introduced a robust video distribution solutions catalog, and exhibited at CEDIA Expo for the first time. Blustream advances were led by the HDBaseT Platinum PLA88CS 4K HDMI 2.0 8×8 video matrix with advanced audio matrixing, which reduces labor and hardware transmitting HDMI, ARC, LAN, and bidirectional IR and RS-232 signals over a single Cat cable. The company also added a 4K 18 Gbps video-over-IP IP500UHD transceiver; two new HDBaseT matrices with audio return channel, and a compact Dante NPA70DA two-channel amp with PoE++.
Bowers & Wilkins: It was a big year for product introductions from the company, starting with the Panorama 3 soundbar and continuing at ISE 2022 with the debut of the CDA-2HD and CDA-4D DSP amplifiers and the ISW-6 and ISW8 in-wall subwoofers. In September, B&W added the 700 Series speakers, which are empowered with many of the same technologies found in the brand’s flagship range, the 800 Series Diamond.
CATalyzing Communications, Inc.: CATalyzing Communications is the award-winning, full-service marketing agency that has helped leading technology integrators, vendors, publications, buying groups, and the industry flourish with the most advanced services since 2016. Founded and led by 25-plus-year CI industry vet Cat Toomey, CATalyzing is set apart by its bespoke approach to the custom integration community. Services have expanded from branding, PR, websites, newsletters, social media, strategy analysis/planning, turnkey programs, case studies, and digital content creation to include blogging, media placement, and video services. Watch as they continue to expand services in 2023 to meet the demands of today’s tech companies.
Chief: This year, Chief helped to empower and inspire a professionalization of the work-from-home trend. Among the company’s new product introductions was its Koncīs Charging Hub. With the hub, installers can defend against work-from-home cable and charger clutter. It brings convenient charging options to the company’s Koncīs Monitor Arms and features USB-A and USB-C charging ports for desktop charging of personal devices, such as mobile phones and tablets.
ClearOne: 2022 was a strong year for ClearOne, a leading provider of enterprise-grade communications, conferencing, and collaboration solutions. The commercial market leader expanded further into the residential space with the development of its Aura home office product portfolio. The Aura line provides direct-to-consumer solutions for at-home offices and creative workspaces, and now includes the DIALOG 10 wireless USB microphone, which was honored as a winner of the ISE and InfoComm 2022 Best in Market Awards. ClearOne continued to maintain its commitment to educational support for global partners this year with ongoing ClearOne University webinar courses.
Crestron: The company was finally able to make its long-planned return to CEDIA Expo with its typical giant, impossible-to-ignore booth. It was there that many dealers got to experience Crestron Home for the first time. The Crestron Home OS is constantly updated throughout the year, with recent the addition of Circadian Rhythm settings and support for Apple HomeKit, Uniview cameras, and security system zones.
D-Tools: Staffing shortages and supply chain issues continue to plague the systems integration community. Rising to the challenge, D-Tools expanded and refined its business management software to provide dealers with more tools to overcome these and other obstacles through greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Numerous enhancements to Version 18 of its System Integration software and management of the software via the Cloud, along with business-boosting third-party partnerships, poise D-Tools and its dealers for even greater success in 2023.
Da-Lite: Da-Lite proved there’s still plenty of room to innovate in home theaters with its aircraft-grade cable-drop feature, SightLine. Available with Da-Lite’s Tensioned Advantage electric screen, SightLine gives the impression of a floating screen. The three- or four-cable suspension system is packed into the screen’s single-roller design. They have the additional benefit of eliminating the unsightly black border above the projection screen while creating fast, hassle-free installs. Installers no longer have to measure and specify drop distance when ordering. Using the cables, the screen can be adjusted to the exact drop distance needed — up to 70 inches.
Dirac: Dirac develops digital software solutions that deliver an elevated sound experience for all types of sound systems. Among the company’s most popular solutions is Dirac Live, a mixed-phase room correction solution that applies state-of-the-art, patented algorithms to digitally reduce room impact and enhance speaker performance. Several leading sound systems and speakers have integrated Dirac Live in the past year, including Sound United’s Denon and Marantz units, as well as Dynaudio’s Focus series of wireless speakers. Looking ahead to 2023, Dirac will continue to build upon both new and existing partnerships with leading home theater brands.
DISH Custom Integration: DISH’s concierge-level satellite design and installation service continues to be a hit with integrators, plus the company’s new Hopper Plus entertainment system helps keep track of content for clients. Its Hopper Plus, Joey 4, and Wireless Joey 4 are now seamlessly integrated with the Hopper whole-home DVR system. Hopper Plus has everything built into the user’s DISH Home screen, including live TV, On Demand, the client’s favorite streaming apps, and smart shelves, including “On Now,” “Your Games On Now & Upcoming,” and “Recent Recordings.”
DMF Lighting: Engineered for custom integrators and the standard for modular architectural recessed lighting, DMF Lighting receives award-winning praise, including a CEDIA Best New Product Award, Residential Systems’ CES Picks, CEDIA Best of Show Awards, and Lighting Vendor Partner of the Year for both ProSource and HTSA. New products include the iX Series, a full recessed family for whole home lighting in a 2-inch aperture; Tunable White Light Modules with Digital Control on the award-winning DID platform; and M Series updates, featuring flangeless millwork trims, new trim colors, and easy-to-install housings.
Draper, Inc.: Homeowners are spending more time outdoors. Draper outdoor shading extends the seasons and helps keep everyone comfortable. Draper brings a wide range of outdoor shading solutions to the residential market, including the wind tunnel-tested Draper FlexShade ZIP. The ZIP keeps out glare, bugs, rain, and extreme temperatures to help keep outdoor spaces in use longer. ZIP shades are built to last, and their popularity has even led Draper to introduce a new ZIP product — the Tensioned ZIP can be mounted horizontally or at any angle to provide protection in even more spaces.
Dreamscreen: The DreamScreen UltraWeave v7 is the seventh-generation acoustic transparent (AT) fabric from the company and it was one of the Residential Systems Best of Show at CEDIA 2022 award winners.
Eleusis Digital Canvas: Eleusis Digital Canvas offers a seamless edge-to-edge design. The canvases can be recessed into drywall or other surfaces for unprecedented customization. All Eleusis Canvases include a one-year subscription to Blackdove. Eleusis guides its customers through every step of the process, from purchase consultation through installation. With more than 30 years in the industry, the team brings unparalleled service to its customers. To ensure a smooth installation (anywhere in North America), the team tests and assembles each canvas before delivery. Eleusis is also now offering a Cube Canvas, which is a 16-x16-x16-inch box-shaped digital canvas that delivers sharp, high-brightness imagery across each of its sides, making it suitable for use as a dynamic lighting element.
Elite Screens: This year Elite Screens introduced the Aeon CineGrey 4D AT, which is an EDGE FREE fixed-frame screen that combines the acoustic transparent feature with ceiling ambient light-rejecting technology. The screen material is perforated to allow speaker placement behind the screen. The CineGrey 4D AT material eliminates up to 63 percent of ambient light from any direction and it is ISF Certified for accurate color reproduction in a light-controlled room.
Epson America, Inc.: The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 4K PRO-UHD Laser Projector hit the market in early 2022 — Epson’s best Pro Cinema experience to date. Producing 8.3 million pixels on screen with zero compromise in color/brightness, it features a new Laser Array Light Engine, next-generation image enhancement and processing algorithms, expanded HDMI 2.1 support for up to 4K resolution at 120 frames per second with HDR10+, and frame-by-frame Scene Adaptive Gamma correction.
Exertis Almo: In April, Almo Professional A/V rebranded to become Exertis Almo, following Exertis’ acquisition of Almo Corporation in December 2021. Exertis Almo harnesses the combined sales, service, marketing, and subject matter expertise of Almo Pro A/V and Exertis Pro AV. The company also brought its E4 Experience AV educational events across the country.
Flex Automation: With a limited budget but great expanding potential, commercial integrator Bravista tasked Z-Wave Alliance member Flex Automation to add smart functionalities to the smart maternity hospital named São Luiz Star located in São Paulo. Flex designed Flex Boxes that are compatible with Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 433 MHz, Lora, and voice control to enable a project that is always listening for the user’s next command regardless of the size of the projects involved.
Grimani Systems: Fresh off double CEDIA 2022 Best Theater Awards, Grimani Systems is poised for much success in 2023. With the introduction of the new Rixos-XL “flame-thrower” speaker that replaces the original Alpha speaker at half the price, along with several new solutions for high-quality in-ceiling and in-wall speakers, Grimani Systems offers a broad range of 19 products for the integrator that wants to deliver reference-grade sound with minimal hassles. Be sure to also check out its unique audio solutions for video walls, including a wide array of horizontal speakers, and a proprietary wavefront reflection system.
Harman Luxury Audio: Harman Luxury Audio announced several new products and initiatives this year designed to enhance the performance and dealer focus of its brands. These include an expanded JBL Synthesis portfolio featuring the flagship SCL-1 and SSW-1 loudspeakers and SDA-1700 Class D subwoofer amplifier for the SSW-4 in-wall subwoofer modules; new JBL Stage 2, Stage XD, and Conceal architectural speakers, forward-looking streaming audio solutions, the limited-run Classic Black Edition loudspeakers; the industry-leading AVR selection from Arcam, including the award-winning AV41; and limited-edition ML-50 monaural amplifiers celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mark Levinson brand. In addition, the Northridge Center for Acoustic Excellence underwent a thorough renovation.
Home Technology Association: The Home Technology Association (HTA) has continued making inroads with design and build trade associations to get qualified integrators hired earlier in their process. Beyond adding a new association relationship in 2022 with the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association), the HTA taught in-person classes at the IBS/KBIS show to builders and interior designers and taught a mini-series of home technology integration classes to NARI association members. The HTA will soon launch the “HTA Design Partner” program for integrators and the corresponding “HTA Technology Partner” program for design and build trade partners. Watch for the official launch of this initiative that serves as the basis for building and solidifying trade partner relationships.
HTSA: The buying group continued to be a staunch supporter of lighting for custom installers, launching its first Lightapalooza event in February. The event was so successful that a second annual one is planned for February 2023, which will have more educational opportunities and more lighting exhibitors.
Hunter Douglas: In 2022, Hunter Douglas continued to innovate and expand its smart shading portfolio. Reimaging its award-winning PowerView System, Hunter Douglas has provided integrators, dealers, and homeowners with a new, intuitive, high-performance experience. PowerView Gen 3 brings simplicity, reliability, system scalability, and an array of new design and power options into the motorized shading market. Looking to 2023, Hunter Douglas’s new product, Aura Illuminated shades, will define a new category in smart shades with its technology that mimics natural sunlight any time of day. Integrators can expect Aura to release in 2023.
Jetbuilt: Jetbuilt has advanced as a complete project solution from lead care, installation task and time management, warehouse inventory tracking, service cases, and engineering solutions. Per the company’s Solotech case study, its time and motion study revealed Jetbuilt has accelerated clients’ ROI and reduced their quote time by at least 50 percent, and even more when dealing with larger and more complex projects. Several clients report that they quote 75 percent faster using Jetbuilt.
Josh.ai: Josh.ai’s Geneva OS reimagines how clients interact with their surroundings, evolving traditional programming to an interface that anticipates homeowners’ needs. The new platform introduces Intelligent Areas, which groups commonly associated rooms and devices together, and room customization for programmers to dictate device presets. A new Dealer Dashboard provides administrative management and operational tools for company leaders, including visibility into order histories and dealer status tiers to provide a new element of convenience when quoting future Josh.ai projects.
Juke Audio: Juke Audio may not have introduced any new products in 2022, but the Residential Systems review of its Multi-Zone Whole-Home Audio Streamer continues to be a top story week after week as integrators look to it as a whole-home audio solution.
Just Add Power: Just Add Power celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022 by launching the MaxColor 4K60 Series, picking up industry recognition at home and abroad. Supporting 4K60 4:4:4 from source to screen, MaxColor makes it simple for integrators to create AV-over-IP video systems that optimize the latest 4K sources, displays, and formats using 1g copper wire, just like the existing network infrastructure in a home, instead of more expensive fiber. Just Add Power is growing the MaxColor lineup in 2023, so look for more 4K60 support and other offerings that fit any job and provide a scalable approach to AV distribution.
Kaleidescape: It’s been a busy year for Kaleidescape, forming partnerships with other luxury like-minded companies such as Josh.ai and Keith Yates Design and introducing new products to its lineup, including the Residential Systems Best of Show at CEDIA 2022 Award-winning Compact Terra 22TB movie server. In October, the company named former Dolby exec and current Kaleidescape Board member Priscilla Morgan as chief operating officer, so it looks like it will be a busy 2023, as well.
KEF: With the expansion of its Extreme Home Theater line, KEF introduced two new THX-certified models in 2022 — the ultra-high-performance three-way coaxial speaker Ci250RRM-THX and the high-output architectural subwoofer Ci250RRb-THX — both designed to be discreet in appearance and engineered with best-in-class acoustic performance. KEF continued its 60th anniversary celebration with the growth of its line of streaming powered speakers. Much more than a simple upgrade from the award-winning original, the new LSX II combines class-leading sound with the all-encompassing W2 wireless platform from the award-winning LS50 Wireless II and new LS60 Wireless. The LS60 Wireless — an all-in-one, high-fidelity streaming audio system — boasts the latest high-performance KEF key acoustic technologies, including the 12th generation Uni-Q driver array with Metamaterial Absorption Technology, and features multiple connectivity options for your TV, gaming, or listening experience. KEF promises an exciting Q1 for 2023.
KMB Communications: KMB has moved beyond the traditional roles of public relations into thought leadership. Owner Katye McGregor Bennett has been forging ahead into the design-build trade and actively championing the relationship between the custom AV channel and designers, architects, and builders, including participating and reporting back on events like KBIS/NKBA to podcasting on Connecting Tech + Design.
LEA Professional: As the resimercial space continued to grow in 2022, LEA Professional’s technologies were in high demand. The company’s cloud platform provides systems integrators with reliable and secure remote monitoring and control capabilities across LEA’s entire lineup of IoT-enabled Connect Series amplifiers. The cloud platform has supported integrators in the sector not only by allowing them to work remotely, but also by helping ensure they are provided a stable income in the form of recurring revenue.
Legrand | AV: Legrand | AV focused on its dealers in 2022, coming to them in a roadshow tour that hit six cities before stopping at CEDIA Expo and then continuing on to seven more stops. The tour trailer and tradeshow booth brought together solutions from all the company’s brands — Chief, Da-Lite, Legrand Shading Systems, Luxul, Middle Atlantic Products, On-Q, Sanus, and Vantage — integrating to create amazing smart home and resimercial experiences. Among Legrand’s many notable product introductions this year was Da-Lite’s aircraft-grade cable-drop feature, SightLine, which earned several industry awards for the innovative engineering that makes Da-Lite’s Tensioned Advantage electric screen appear to float.
Legrand Shading Systems: With customers spending more time at home and wanting it to reflect their style, Legrand Shading Systems helped dealers leverage the growing opportunities in shades. The company launched new designer fabrics from Coulisse and other designers well-known by interior decorators. The runway-worthy fabrics bring the company’s portfolio to 753 options, which can be seen in all-new fabric books. As the finishing touch, Legrand Shading Systems began shipping its Designer Series decorative brackets and member endcaps, which are available in 15 stylish finishes and which dealers can allow clients to experience first-hand using the company’s new demo case.
Leon Speakers: Leon Speakers blurred the line between design and technology with several noteworthy additions to its technology concealment and design-forward loudspeaker portfolio. From speakers masquerading as exclusive pieces of commissioned artwork and elegant landscape light fixtures blanketing a backyard with high-fidelity music to handcrafted credenzas hiding soundbars, Leon reimagined speaker design and is pushing the envelope further in 2023. At the same time, Leon extended its reach into other home tech categories, developing a turnkey work-from-home kit and partnering with LiquidView to offer a virtual window that displays curated cinematic-caliber recordings of scenery from around the world.
LG: LG went big in 2022 with the LG MAGNIT 4K 136-inch Micro LED residential display, which joined the company’s luxury-minded DVLED “Extreme Home Cinema” displays. It also launched its own NFT platform, LG Art Lab, which enables users to buy, sell, and enjoy high-quality digital artwork from the home screen of its TVs.
Lithe Audio: U.K-based wireless audio systems manufacturer Lithe Audio made its U.S. market and CEDIA Expo debut. The company’s Pro Series WiFi Multiroom Ceiling Speaker won multiple awards at CEDIA Expo 2022. It supports high-resolution audio at 192 kHz, 24-bit; features an optical input and two Ethernet ports; and is available with PoE++ and WiSA bolt-on modules. For indoor or outdoor areas that can’t accommodate a traditional ceiling speaker, the new iO1, planned for release in Q1 2023, offers the same technology but can be installed vertically or horizontally on walls, flush-mount in corners, mounted on a yard stake, or in other configurations.
Lutron: At CEDIA Expo 2022, the company announced plans to build an additional state-of-the-art, 145,000-square-foot automated shade manufacturing facility to increase capacity and support category growth among the professional installer community. Construction has begun in Ashland, Va., and the new facility will be fully operational by early 2024.
Luxul: With strong wireless connectivity a nonnegotiable feature, Luxul focused its energy on evangelizing its Epic Mesh wireless mesh solution. The company integrated it with its ProWatch+ cloud management solution, ensuring it continues to serve as a key networking component in work-from-home environments. New solutions introduced this year included three additions to Luxul’s managed L2/L3 Gigabit PoE+ switches: the 48-port SW-510-48P-F; 24-port SW-610-24P-R; and 48-port SW-610-48P-F. Designed for large residential and commercial networks, the units are packed with features for simple network expansion and management, while offering high performance with fast switching capacities of 104 Gbps, 128 Gbps, and 176 Gbps, respectively.
MadVR: As part of the “Ultimate Immersive Demo” at CEDIA Expo 2022 with Trinnov, McIntosh, and a host of others, MadVR turned plenty of heads with its video processing. The company is working on what it calls “the industry’s first AI-based motion interpolation” for the Envy Extreme, and will no doubt have more to share in 2023.
McIntosh: McIntosh introduced a bevy of products for audiophiles, including the MR89 AM/FM tuner, the MCD12000 SACD/CD player, and the MX180 AV processor.
Middle Atlantic Products: It was the year of power for Middle Atlantic Products. The company powers up any AV experience starting at the foundation with its power and rack solutions. Featuring six surge-protected outlets — three connected to a battery backup system, the Structured Wiring UPS UPS-SC600 is a compact solution for protecting electronics during a power loss or surge. Leveraging Middle Atlantic’s two decades of AV expertise, NEXSYS combines power distribution and power backup into one comprehensive, reliable power platform for AV systems. At CEDIA Expo 2022, the company’s racks took the spotlight, supporting gear in the McIntosh Labs sponsored sound room.
Modulus Media: Modulus Media’s new M2 is a high-performance UHD 4K movie server that includes a versatile digital library for movies and other programming with up to 80 TB of field-upgradeable internal storage, optional integrated backup, and NAS compatibility for unlimited expansion. With this large capacity, the M2 can store large collections of movies and other programming and make it available on demand to be enjoyed again and again.
Modus VR: Modus VR continues to accelerate design products and growth opportunities for the custom installation community with its real-time VR software and suite of tools. In 2022, Modus VR expanded its offerings by taking its 3D design software and offering it as a new, turnkey service for integrators. Modus-as-a-service (MaaS) offers all the power, speed, and accuracy of Modus VR without any VR equipment or investment. By the project, Modus VR Specialists do the work, hosting live video design sessions as integrators collaborate with their clients. Modus VR can deliver project plans, elevations, 360-degree viewable links, Bill of Materials, and more. Integrators speed up projects and sales, while Modus VR does the work.
MSE Audio: As parent to speaker companies Phase Technology (PhaseTech), dARTS Theater, Induction Dynamics, Rockustics, SolidDrive, Soundsphere, and SoundTube, in 2023 MSE Audio will continue to deliver luxury performance in architectural audio with each custom-installed brand. It is updating its residential and commercial product lines and building more of its drivers and speakers in the U.S. There will be many new indoor and outdoor products for residential and commercial applications available in 2023.
Nationwide: In September, Nationwide Marketing Group added industry veteran Andy Orozco to the group as its new senior vice president of custom integration in a sign that Nationwide will continue to expand its CI offerings. Nationwide also updated its popular Tiny Home exhibit, which was on display at CEDIA Expo 2022.
Natufia: Here is an interesting take on wellness tech: The Natufia One is an innovative indoor garden for every home, community space, or office. You can easily grow up to 20 different nutritious herbs and vegetables, without GMO or pesticides, right at your fingertips with automated watering and lighting. The unit is a plug-and-play device. Plants grow automatically and you can harvest them as and when needed. Powered by Natufia technology, you can also connect units in series as many as you wish depending on your needs: from home use to the whole community greens production.
Netgear: Netgear launched two new access points (WAX628 and WAX638E) tailored specifically for the residential custom integration market. These new access points include white-glove design and ProSupport services, as well as Netgear Insight — a cloud-based management platform that enables installers to remotely manage their customer’s network from a tablet, smartphone, or laptop.
Nice: 2022 marked the transition from Nortek Control to Nice North America. Nice has continued to introduce new and innovative products across its portfolio, further bolstering the company’s commitment to providing partners with the most complete, integrated product ecosystem. Partners, including dealers, integrators, builders, and distributors, will benefit from its broad portfolio of residential, commercial, and industrial solutions, deeper partner programs, and expanded training and certification for the field, supporting them in the growth of their businesses. As Nice North America enters 2023, the company will continue its success by growing its multitude of brands, research and development capacities, and granting entries into strategic new markets.
On-Q: With new tools and enclosures, installers will appreciate being able to level up the organization of their cables and devices with new options from On-Q. The company debuted its new Forward Keyhole Post Clips and Small Device Mounting Clamps, designed using Forward Technology for a quick and easy install. Also attracting attention is the company’s Dual-Purpose In-Wall Enclosures, which store AV devices behind mounted TVs to provide structured wiring organization and distribution. The USA-made enclosures feature Wi-Fi-transparent material for uninterrupted control of entertainment devices stored inside, generous knockouts for cable management and power, enclosure cover, trim ring, and drywall clips.
OneVision Resources: In 2022, OneVision expanded its award-winning platform, helping U.S./Canadian integrators supercharge their service operations. The company invested in its ProVision software, which acts as a hub for managing service operations and driving the sale of premium support memberships. OneVision has continued to innovate on its white-label, top-tier support operations, achieving exceptional client satisfaction scores while reducing the strain placed on integrators by client demands for high-quality, around-the-clock technical support. Integrators on the platform unlock hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual recurring revenue while providing their teams with improved work-life balance and their clients with an elevated service experience.
Origin Acoustics: Origin has increased its offerings by putting together a curated approach, which includes building strategic partnerships with some of the world’s biggest brands and category leaders. Origin Acoustics announced how its relationship with Bang & Olufsen has evolved by becoming the North American brand manager and master distributor. Origin is now responsible for expanding the Bang & Olufsen CTI program, Custom Technology Installers, by bringing on new resellers to grow the Bang & Olufsen presence in the U.S.
Parasol: Last year, Parasol announced that Snap One had taken a strategic investment in the company, so it wasn’t too surprising when Snap One officially acquired Parasol in October. Parasol will continue to service its existing clients and has a whole new world of potential customers through Snap One’s Partners.
Planar: The September launch of the Planar Luminate Ultra Series introduced a fine-pitch, high-brightness outdoor LED video wall designed for close-up viewing. Featuring models in 1.5 and 1.9-millimeter pixel pitches, 3500-nit brightness, and coated LEDs, the series delivers ruggedness and exceptional image detail for high-ambient light environments, including poolside cinema. The new solution supports comfortable viewing from as close as 8 feet and enhances viewing angles with nearly 140-degree visibility with limited interference, even in direct sunlight. Customers also benefit from enhanced deployment versatility, simplified maintenance, and protective treatments designed to withstand weather conditions, dust, and water.
Portal: Portal has reimagined and streamlined payment collection for integrators with its new ‘Payments’ by Portal.io feature. More than 50 integrators have worked closely with Portal for the past two years to design and test the perfect payment processing solution. Instead of chasing customers for deposit payments after accepting a proposal, Portal presents customers with a payment request automatically at the moment the proposal is accepted, preventing needless collection delays. The deposit payment is automatically calculated based on chosen proposal options, and customers can initiate a secure ACH or credit card payment directly. Additionally, integrators can pass payment processing fees on to customers. Project payments can all be managed and tracked inside the proposal, and Payouts are QuickBooks-friendly, making tracking card fees simple.
PowerHouse Alliance: 2022 has been thus far defined by significant growth across the board for all PowerHouse Alliance members. This year, PHA added and expanded member locations across the country, continued to bolster its product offerings with new categories and vendors, and debuted a new house line of audio amplifiers at CEDIA Expo. Heading into 2023, PHA anticipates many manufacturers will continue to evolve the technology and solutions available for work-from-home. Dealers can benefit from this trend not only by upgrading their home network offerings, which have consistently been a strong category, but also by looking at new audio and video solutions.
Pro Audio Technology: PRO made a big splash at CEDIA Expo 2022, demonstrating its most acoustically ambitious, intelligent, and flexible loudspeaker ever created. Three products in one, the SR-28212ai is a high-output, full-range loudspeaker for LCR or surround applications, an LFE/main subwoofer, and a subwoofer for surround and Atmos speaker bass management — all within a single 6-inch-deep enclosure. The SR-28212ai thrilled crowds with its performance and earned two awards at the show. In 2023, PRO will begin shipping the SR-2408iw, a 4-inch-deep loudspeaker that offers full-range performance for high-end home theater and mega-yacht installations where space is limited but performance is crucial.
ProSource: ProSource continues to expand, announcing the addition of seven new Custom Integrator level members in Q3 2022. The new Q3 2022 members will contribute more than $27 million in new revenue for the year, bringing the total new member revenue to over $60 million in 2022.
PTZOptics and HuddleCamHD: PTZOptics and sister company HuddleCamHD are offering compelling solutions for emerging categories like home offices and recording studios. For example, the HuddleCamHD MiniTrack 4K Pro is an ePTZ webcam with 4K output, auto-framing, auto-tracking, and automated lighting and color settings. It’s an ideal solution for home office and livestreaming setups. For serious content creators, PTZOptics recently released the Studio Pro. This camera combines webcam convenience with DSLR-like image quality, including bokeh effect capabilities. With simultaneous HDMI, USB, and IP outputs, a built-in noise-canceling mic, and an included light, the Studio Pro is the ultimate all-in-one home production studio solution.
Quantum Media Systems: Quantum Media Systems has been designing, engineering, and facilitating studio-grade digital cinema technology for pro screening rooms, commercial theaters, private theaters, and beyond for more than 20 years. Owned by Ken Hoffman and Cesar Guerrero, QMS has traditionally put an emphasis on two-piece projection systems. Within the last five years, however, it has transitioned its focus to the development and integration of its own fine-pitch LED walls, which garnered a lot of attention and praise at CEDIA Expo.
RoseWater Energy Group: With the electrical grid increasingly providing inconsistent power quality, RoseWater’s energy management Hubs will become more necessary in the coming year. In 2023, RoseWater Energy will be prepared to help integrators and their luxury clients with several new products that will give more flexibility in installation spaces and offer options for larger Hubs to accommodate bigger homes with more backup capabilities. Additionally, RoseWater will launch RoseWater University in 2023 to help integrators better communicate the benefits of clean power to their customers. (Hint: The Hub eliminates power-related callbacks.)
RTI: Celebrating 30 years, RTI innovated around simplicity and software with the release of its Integration Designer 11 control application platform. The latest Integration Designer enables technology integrators to achieve faster, more efficient installations with all the advanced customization for which RTI is known. It adds time-saving performance tools like the built-in driver library, the new “Coral” user interface, and more to personalize residential and commercial projects. The company also expanded its RTI Music line, introduced the KX4 touchpanel, and showed its continuous commitment to third-party integration with Driver Friday — launching new or updated drivers every Friday.
Salamander Designs Ltd.: Salamander Designs expanded its premium solutions in 2022, supporting custom integrators in residential and commercial markets around the globe, and enabling them to expand their businesses. Through partnerships with leading projector manufacturers, Salamander launched new Ultra-Short-Throw Projector Cabinets to support the release of the latest USTs from LG, Samsung, Epson, and Hisense. These cabinets enable integrators to offer a more streamlined video solution that doesn’t require construction. Salamander also launched the ultra-slim Acadia Display/TV Stand, which solves space and design issues for dealers, and added entertainment seating in the Modus VR real-time, design software.
Samsung: Samsung’s The Frame continues to be the television of choice for many custom installers, and its Terrace outdoor television also took off this year. At CEDIA Expo, Samsung showed a new version of The Frame with a matte finish that drew crowds, as did its The Wall All-In-One.
Sanus: This year, Sanus added elegance to Sonos installations. The company introduced the WSS52 Sonos Five and Sonos PLAY:5 stand and WSSATM1 extendable soundbar TV mount designed for the Sonos Arc Soundbar. The WSS52 securely holds the Sonos Five or Sonos PLAY:5 in either vertical or horizontal orientation in an anodized aluminum design that perfectly complements the modern look of the speaker while placing it at an ideal listening height. Designed in partnership with Sonos, the WSSATM1 is compatible with and attaches directly to most TV mounts, including full-motion mounts, for a seamless look that takes 15 minutes to set up.
Savant Power System: The Savant Power solution enables homeowners in grid-challenged areas like California to automate their renewable energy sources, their grid power, and their storage/generator solutions to provide greatly enhanced energy security at home while reducing strain on the local grid and also lowering carbon footprint. Rather than having a few dedicated circuits attached to a generator in case of an outage, Savant’s solution can include all circuits in the home, assigning them a priority status or as part of a scene to deliver the best quality of life even during a blackout.
Screen Innovations: Screen Innovations spent 2022 innovating distinctive projection screens and shades. Helping dealers build and retain a profitable shade and screen business is where SI will focus its energy going forward in 2023. By reorganizing, restructuring, and strengthening its field resources for sales/account management, technical sales, and inside sales and support, SI will be able to visit more jobsites, assist with challenging projects, provide in-field and on-site training, and deliver better back-end support for its dealers.
Severtson Screens: Severtson Screens had several new product introductions throughout 2022, including an 0.8 gain ALR screen with a 170-degree viewing angle, and Ultra Short Throw ALR projection screen, and a cable-drop model.
Shade Pocket Bracket: With the Shade Pocket Bracket, the mounting system does not need a framed support header. It provides perfect leveling, and protrusion of the shade pocket every time. It lets the dealer install any length of shade pocket in minutes. It provides mounting support for the actual shade when it gets installed and, since the bracket is threaded, it allows you to adjust the pocket protrusion even after drywall is done if the finish thickness changes.
Slayman Design Associates and Slayman Cinema: Knowledgeable of current technologies and AV trends, Lisa Slayman (ASID, IIDA) offers AV integrators a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with a designer who cares about every element of the entertainment experience and understands the necessity of fusing design and technology to create highly functional home theaters. Her interiors are designed to optimize AV performance, though she strives for a pleasing compromise that benefits all project stakeholders: integrators, architects, builders, designers, and end-users.
Snap One: 2022 was another significant year for Snap One. The company acquired Clare Controls, Staub Electronics, and, most recently, Parasol, while also adding new third-party brands to its portfolio. Additionally, Snap One continues to expand its Local presence with 42 stores in operation throughout the United States and Canada and more scheduled to open over the next year. The company is also continuing to invest in product development and recently debuted several next-generation product lines, including Control4 Halo Remotes, Episode Radiance, Control4 Vibrant Linear Lighting, and the Luma x20 family of surveillance products.
Sonos: Sonos introduced a scaled-down soundbar called the Ray that is designed to be used in any room in the house. It sacrifices some features such as Dolby Atmos — which can be found on the Sonos Arc soundbar — but its placement is flexible and the price is $279. The company also introduced a compact subwoofer called the Sub Mini.
Sonus faber: The Sonus faber Arena is the heritage brand’s latest custom installation speaker collection that offers natural sound reproduction and quality sonic performance, packaged in the refined Italian design associated with Sonus faber’s artisans. At CEDIA Expo, they were part of the popular “Ultimate Immersive Demo.”
Sony: Sony covered all the bases this year with several high-end product introductions in televisions, projectors, soundbars, and speaker systems. It also specifically helped its CI Diamond Dealers with a turnkey, co-branded lead-generation email marketing program.
Sound United/Masimo: Sound United was acquired by medical technology provider Masimo in 2022. On the product side, the company ended the year with product introductions and updates for its Denon and Marantz lines.
SurgeX: Though home technology evolves constantly, power quality remains pivotal to the success of the smart home. Especially as residential power networks face modern challenges — from increasing grid dependence to aging local infrastructure — SurgeX is prepared to support integrators in safeguarding their projects with advanced power quality, monitoring, surge elimination, and more. In 2023, SurgeX will uphold its commitment to keeping companies, homeowners, and integrators up and running with both legacy solutions and innovations in its product portfolio. SurgeX also plans to expand its dealer resources, with online buying options in the works for the new year.
Theory Audio Design: At CEDIA Expo, for the first time, Theory demonstrated production models of its entire lineup of loudspeakers and loudspeaker controllers. Attendees were astounded by the performance of each model, from the 6.5-inch ic6 in-ceiling and pendant loudspeaker right up to the 85-inch sb85 soundbar. Theory is changing people’s perception of what is possible from architectural loudspeakers. In 2023, Theory looks forward to flushing out the Theory line with architectural subwoofers, high-power IP amplified distribution loudspeaker controllers, all-weather products, and more.
Torus Power: Torus Power is getting attention with power management solutions for LED video walls, which are becoming more popular in residential applications and have unique power requirements. The company’s wares are also de rigueur in many of today’s most exciting showrooms.
Trinnov Audio: Trinnov was a key part of two very high-profile exhibits at CEDIA Expo — the “Ultimate Immersive Demo” and the “Ultimate Home Theater Demo.”
URC: This past year was a busy one for URC, which announced collaboration and integration with companies such as Colorbeam, FX Luminaire, Nest, ZeeVee, Ring, and Apple TV. If that weren’t enough, the company also premiered its interactive virtual smart home in 2022 and launched a new handheld remote in addition to significant updates to its control system. Look for expanded integrations in 2023.
Vanco International: 2022 was an innovative year for Vanco International with the addition of new products across its Evolution, Beale Street Audio, and PulseAudio product lines. The PulseAudio Collaboration Bar represents an exciting new category for Vanco. This easy-to-deploy video solution fits perfectly in a home office or living room environment with its modern soundbar form factor that features a built-in 6-ray beamforming microphone and a 4K ePTZ camera embedded in its center. Heading into 2023, Vanco will continue developing flexible solutions for residential and commercial spaces that deliver immense value to dealers.
Vantage: Vantage continued to usher in new home control opportunities for dealers, adding new light fixture manufacturers to its LHUMAN Light Fixture Alliance and releasing a luxury demo case to showcase its adorne, Easy Touch Family, EQ40, and RP Touch keypads. The alliance includes AiSPiRE, LF Illumination, Tech Lighting, DMF, Environmental Lights, Lucifer, Proluxe by American Lighting, Circa Lighting, PureEdge, Colorbeam, No. 8 Lighting, and Soraa Lighting. The alliance ensures that when combined with Vantage’s LHUMAN human-centric lighting solution — featuring its touchpanels or keypads and Legrand Shading Systems shading — installers can intelligently render the perfect lighting environment for any task or mood.
Wall-Smart: Wall-Smart expanded its line of design-forward wall and ceiling mount hardware by aligning with several leading home tech manufacturers. As always, the company customized each mount to the exact performance and design specifications of the particular device, which this year included the debut of flush wall mounts for Savant Ascend keypads and Sonos soundbars. These solutions, as well as a mount engineered for installation of devices within walls made of concrete, brick, and plaster, provided integrators with mounting alternatives that blend technologies seamlessly with their surrounding surface. Wall-Smart will broaden its line further with mounts tailored for additional brands in 2023.
Z-Wave Alliance: In 2022, smart technology, interoperability, and the future of IoT have become a focal point. As champions of interoperability for over 20 years, Z-Wave’s legacy continues to grow with new and fast-evolving technical capabilities and expanding membership made up of some of the most influential leaders in the smart home. This year, the Z-Wave Alliance has worked diligently to provide the smart home market with a robust product ecosystem. Key milestones for the Z-Wave Alliance in 2022 included the first Z-Wave Long Range Certified device, surpassing 4000 certified-interoperable devices within the ecosystem, and additions to the Z-Wave Board of Directors.
CEDIA WATCH: ASSOCIATION AND EXPO
CEDIA: CEDIA had an active year with the return of the Tech Summits and training held at its Indiana HQ. The biggest feather in its cap this year, however, was its Integrated Systems Technician (IST) certification earning third-party accreditation certification in accordance with the global ISO/IEC 17024:2012, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons. The IST certification joins the Cabling and Infrastructure Technician (CIT) as CEDIA’s second ISO/IEC 17024-accredited standard. Together, these two certifications represent a globally recognized career path for residential technology integrators.
CEDIA Expo: Expo was back in full force in 2022. The event had 15,497 total registrants with a verified attendance of 11,946 industry professionals and 317 exhibitors. CEDIA Expo 2022 marked a strong return to live events with over 143,000 net square feet of exhibits, sound rooms, and highly engaging activations on the show floor. CEDIA Expo 2023 will take place September 6–9, 2023, in Denver, Colo.
This article was originally written for https://www.residentialsystems.com/features/behind-the-business/companies-to-watch-2023